“Rose Wept,” by William Trevor

14 Feb

After the last two stories under discussion, this one may seem downright conventional, and yet, its shape is quite distinctive. Let’s try to get to the bottom of this rather understated, curiously affecting story, by discussing the following questions.

Why do you suppose the author chose to tell the story from Rose’s point of view? How would it have been a different story from Mr. Bouverie’s point of view, or his wife’s, the lover’s?

Speaking of point of view, how would you describe the narrative voice? The point of view is certainly Rose’s, but the narrator looking over her shoulder seems to be another presence entirely.

The conflict, of course, is the ongoing affair, but most of the story barely confronts this painful happening. Why should the author concern himself with the coffee house, Rose’s house, and the tutor room, instead of the bedroom where the real action is taking place?

Describe the “weave” pattern. What are the threads? How do they “tie” together?

Much of this story’s power, or charm at least, rests on allusions. Can you find any famous allusions here?

How does the final paragraph justify the rest of the story, link all the various aspects together?

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202 Responses to ““Rose Wept,” by William Trevor”

  1. Kelly Daniels February 14, 2014 at 9:41 am #

    Hey folks. Here’s a hint about one of the two allusions. (Well, more than a hint.) Does anyone know this novel?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madame_Bovary

    • Kaylee Wagner February 14, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

      I had to read that book my senior year of high school. I didn’t like it.

    • Caitlin Lawler February 14, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

      I haven’t read the novel, but I’ve heard about it in another fiction class, and the whole theme of an affair and the name “Mr. Bouverie” definitely brought Madame Bovary to mind.

      • jessicasiverly February 14, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

        Same here. That allusion was pretty obvious to me.

    • Nate Mittelbrun February 14, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

      I actually hadn’t read the novel so this allusion was lost on me. Kelly’s link really made it clear though; there were quite a few situations that related directly to Madame Bovary and this made Rose Wept more intriguing to me.

    • SarahStory February 14, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

      Wish I was familiar with it. Thanks for the link.

    • RukiG February 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

      I actually just finished reading this novel a couple of weeks ago for my French class. The allusion was pretty obvious, yes. But I didn’t really feel any parallels other than the cuckolding itself and Mrs. Bouverie’s attitude to her lover.
      The end of Madame Bovary is quite grotesque, and this story finished on a much more melancholy, rather than totally depressing, note.

      • Kelly Daniels February 17, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

        I think the story is riffing off one famous scene, the one where M Bovary is being seduced while outside the window we hear a hog being auctioned. (I haven’t read the book in over a decade, so I could be off on the details.) Anyway, Rose’s father is an auctioneer, but more than that, the story uses that structure of one thing going on while another thing is going on elsewhere, and we’re invited to view them as connected.

  2. tylerspellious February 14, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    “Speaking of point of view, how would you describe the narrative voice? The point of view is certainly Rose’s, but the narrator looking over her shoulder seems to be another presence entirely.”

    I think I’d go so far as to call the narrator omniscient, or at least a source that knows Rose extremely well. The voice seems to know every single one of Rose’s thoughts, but also seems to be able to detect things from other characters’ actions or dialogue that Rose can’t or just doesn’t think about. This would defy “omniscient” though, since we never see it from another person’s view, just Rose thinking in that person’s view.

    • Alli February 14, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

      I would say that it’s in between omniscient and Rose’s perspective, I agree Tyler. I think it’s more Rose’s POV than omniscient though, if I had to choose, most because we don’t see into anyone else’s heads when it would be really easy to peek into the husband’s mind.

      • Caitlin Lawler February 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

        But don’t we have access to the final scene between Mrs. Bouverie and her lover at the end? When we learn that Mr Azam “was not a man to cause a wife who had born his child to suffer.”

        Maybe the narrator is limited third person, but it seems to have more freedom than solely Rose’s view.

        • Carrie February 14, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

          I took those sections to be Rose’s imagination filling in the parts she wasn’t sure about, I mainly got this notion from the feeling of the girls gossiping at the coffee shop. I agree with others that it is mainly Rose’s view point we are in.

          • jessicasiverly February 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

            Carrie, I feel like that makes sense. Rose seems like a character who is so often forced to do things her parents want. She has extremely limited freedom and basically no real power. A girl like that would only naturally have a vivid imagination.

          • SarahStory February 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

            This is what I thought too. Someone as invested as Rose is would naturally imagine scenarios to go along with the information she already knows. It’s also easy to believe a teenage girl would think about this social drama.

          • Kristel_E February 14, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

            Agreed. There are no actual scenes from the bedroom, but we get invented bedroom scenes from Rose: “In the lovers’ bedroom Rose saw Mrs Bouverie close her eyes in ecstasy…” (165). She is filling in the time that she does not witness with her imagination.

          • Kelly Daniels February 17, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

            I agree.

        • maggie February 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

          I thought that that perspective of Mr. Azam and Mrs. Bouverie was just what Rose was imagining.

          • Nate Mittelbrun February 14, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

            I totally agree Maggie. It seemed to me that she had to imagine what was occurring in order to make sense of the events in her own head, as well as to offer her girlfriends a couple new pieces of gossip at the cafe. Everything else seemed fairly clear, as if she witnessed the events, but this seemed to be in her head. Just my own reading though.

      • tylerspellious February 14, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

        Unless for some reason the narrator only wanted to stay in Rose’s head. Though you’re probably right. When I try to think of examples, they’re all ones that Rose was imagining, rather than being actual head hops.

      • Padraic Price February 14, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

        When I was reading it I thought of it as third person limited. I see your point about us seeing things that rose doesn’t but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is not limited. Third person limited can see things that the protagonist doesn’t as long as we follow them the whole time.

      • Kristel_E February 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

        I agree with you, Alli. It was a very interesting perspective. It definitely seemed to be a mix between an omniscient narrator and Rose’s perspective. There are some scenes that Rose couldn’t have seen (or probably didn’t see) that are told, which makes me believe there is some other omniscient narrator thrown into the mix. Either that, or it is all Rose and she is getting a lot of information through speculation and gossip and then relating it as truth.

    • Laura Seeber February 14, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

      I would agree Tyler I would say the narrator is omniscient or even Rose herself. We know what Rose is thinking which makes me believe it might be Rose herself, however the other characters make me think it might be more omniscient.

      • Alli February 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

        Yeah, I definitely think that Rose is just imagining things and filling in the blanks about the affair. That’s why it seems like there is an omniscient quality to the narrative voice.

      • Kaylee Wagner February 14, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

        I agree that the focus is mainly on Rose, but this is written in third person. Rose cannot be the narrator.

        • tylerspellious February 14, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

          You don’t refer to yourself in third person like Tyler?

          • Alli February 14, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

            Haha, Tyler. I just had to acknowledge this. 😛

          • Kelly Daniels February 17, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

            Funny.

      • jperpich10 February 14, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

        Definitely see that omniscient perspective of Rose’s voice. And I think it creates a very unique perspective.

  3. Alli February 14, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

    “Why do you suppose the author chose to tell the story from Rose’s point of view? How would it have been a different story from Mr. Bouverie’s point of view, or his wife’s, the lover’s?”

    I think that giving the outside the point of view, especially a young woman like Rose, allows the whole allusion to “Mme. Bovary” to thrive. Rose has her romantic illusions about the affair, just like Mme. Bovary in the French novel. She romanticizes the affair, but in reality this is a betrayal to her professor. Her tears at the end are sort of an acknowledgement of her betrayal as well as being guilty of overly-romanticizing the affair on a whole. At least, that’s my perspective. What do you guys think??

    • tylerspellious February 14, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

      Honestly, I didn’t really get the last paragraph very well. That being said, I think your idea of it makes the most sense I’ve heard so far. That would explain the guilt whenever she looks at her professor. But I’m curious how the professor knew she was romanticizing the affair, since he tells her so much information about it. Unless he just figures Rose can hear it and must be thinking about it.

      • maggie February 14, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

        I don’t think that he knows she is romanticizing the affair I took to to be just her internal guilt at knowing what she was doing.

      • Alli February 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

        I took it as there was no way she could be in the house without acknowledging it….and he couldn’t talk to anyone else about it, so he mentioned it to Rose. Part of it is also showing that he’s aware that it’s happening, which takes away the stigma of him possibly being “stupid” for not seeing it.
        Her betrayal is romanticizing it and turning his pain into gossip, I think. Especially when he tells her little things here and there. I don’t know, that’s just the clearest I can make it out so far haha

        • Carrie February 14, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

          I agree. It was clear that he was completely aware of the affair, and I would like to think that his declaring Rose to be his last student is him finally taking a stand against the affair. His does not publicly show his pain, but Rose does when she gossips to her friends. The last paragraph is Rose realizing that within the story of Mrs. Bouverie and Mr. Azam is her teacher.

      • SarahStory February 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

        Though it never says directly, her professor could assume Rose told her friends, gossiped or told someone about it. With her age and gender she’s likely to discuss the people around her.

    • Caitlin Lawler February 14, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      I agree, I think Rose was probably the best character to experience the story because 1. she feels guilty about romanticizing the affair and for the awkward position her mother has unwittingly put Mr. Bouverie in, which puts her in an interesting position at the dinner. and 2. because she ties all the different “threads” of the story together: the dinner, the tutoring lessons, the affair, the coffee shop conversation.

    • Carrie February 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

      I completely agree Alli. It was Rose’s guilt at the end that really centers the story around her point of view for me. Having a younger p.o.v. allows for the romanticizing of the event. And I think if it was done in Mr. or Mrs. Bouverie’s p.o.v the story would have a cynical or depressing tone the whole way through, while with Rose’s perspective the guilt only comes in after she’s romanticized it.

    • RukiG February 14, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

      I agree, Alli. There’s sort of a double allusion to “Mme Bovary” here. Mr. and Mrs. Bouverie and the progression of the affair are pretty similar to one of Mme Bovary’s affairs and her husband’s reaction.
      But, as you say, Rose and her attitude to the affair also allude to the younger, more innocent Mme Bovary that we see at the beginning of the novel.
      Since that perspective is what gives the story its movement, writing it from the wife’s, lover’s or tutor’s point of view would change the story completely.

  4. Carrie February 14, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    I really liked the form of the story. The setting is the dinner at Rose’s house, and as the dinner goes on Rose recalls things from the past. Mostly it seemed that some action or word from the dinner guests, especially Mr. Bouverie’s actions. This is very realistic to how the thought process works and Rose dips in and out of her memories, “spacing out” and then returning to the present dinner.

    • jperpich10 February 14, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

      I agree completely. it flows very smoothly, and is surprisingly easy to follow the timeline when Rose dips into the past and has these spacing out moments.

      • maggie February 14, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

        Yeah I totally agree, in class we are always talking about how to make frame stories seamless, and I think her little jumps into the past do an excellent job of not jolting the reader out of the story.

    • tylerspellious February 14, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

      I had mixed feelings about the form. It confused me at times. We were in a memory and BAM were back in the present without so much as a hint that we were back. And after multiple times of this, it really began to annoy me. Not that I wanted to hear about the dinner party, but the sudden jumps were just jumbling my head rather than reminding me of how “spacing out” works.

      We’re at the party, now were at the professor’s house, an affair is going on, now were with rose’s friends, now were back at the party, but wait, now we’re with the professor’s wife, but it’s actually Rose’s imagination. It was exhausting.

      • Alli February 14, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

        I will admit to being slightly annoyed with the form in the beginning. After I learned to expect the jumps, and became intrigued with the situation, I felt better about it…but initially it was a jolt for me, too.

      • jperpich10 February 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

        I actually had the opposite opinion on the form of the story. After she first, spaces out and looks back in the past, I was able to make the connection based on who was in the flashback. And then if dinner or her parents were mentioned, I was like okay, back to present.

        I kind of organized the fragments into three separate incidents/situations: 1-the dinner party, 2-tutoring sessions, and 3-gossiping with friends.

        • SarahStory February 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

          I organized it the same way in my head and it made keeping track of the characters and plot progression much easier.

      • jessicasiverly February 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

        I was honestly confused at times as well Tyler.

      • alexandrapalmisano11 February 14, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

        I was also really confused. I got lost a lot and had to reread sections. I thought some of the transitions were kind of sudden and confusing.

      • Kelly Daniels February 17, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

        But without this little stylistic oddity, I wonder if the story would have been familiar and therefore boring.

    • Padraic Price February 14, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

      I agree, it’s a lot like the fragmentation in the last story, in that they both feel really believable as what the person’s thought process might be.

      • jessicasiverly February 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

        For some reason though, I had a much easier time figuring out the last story’s fragmentation. The weaving confused me more than the physical line breaks.

  5. jperpich10 February 14, 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    I think the story works best from Rose’s point of view. Had it been Mr. Bouviere’s voice, I think it would have been much too…biased a story if that makes sense. Rose has a sort of omniscient view being forced into this situation/knowing what’s going on in the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Bouviere and I think her perspective is a very unique one. It makes the story able to take on the fragmented form—the dinner with Rose’s family, to the affair/tutoring sessions with Mr. Bouviere, and Rose’s experiences gossiping with her friends about it all.

    • Laura Seeber February 14, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

      I was a bit confused too Tyler, but the way Alli explained it really helped. However the overwhelming guilt she feels whenever she makes a connection. I see your point Tyler about her romanticizing the affair, however I don’t think he can Rose can just hear him though, at least that is not the impression I got.

    • Nate Mittelbrun February 14, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

      I completely agree. Putting the story in her point of view allows this sort of un-tainted vision of what is occurring, where as I think any other character’s perspective would probably feed us their fantasized version of events. I got the feeling that Rose is struggling with how to deal with all of these emotions, so this was a very honest depiction of the story almost as a therapeutic element.

    • Kristel_E February 14, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

      I agree! If the story had been told more from Mrs Bouverie’s voice, it would’ve been biased in a way. The romanticizing of the affair wouldn’t have worked as well I don’t think without it being told from the perspective of a younger woman who was not directly involved in the affair.

    • Kelly Daniels February 17, 2014 at 4:57 pm #

      Rose is the only one who can feel sorry for everyone in this story, which is its final point. All the other characters would have agendas. She’s an “innocent” bystander.

  6. Caitlin Lawler February 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    “Why should the author concern himself with the coffee house, Rose’s house, and the tutor room, instead of the bedroom where the real action is taking place?”

    I think part of the reason for making Rose the narrator is to give the reader to view the affair from many different angles (sort of like the “truth is a broken mirror” idea from Wednesday). The story explores the affects of the affair on the lovers, the “cuckold”, the 18 year olds to whom sex is an enticing mystery, and even the unwitting Dakin’s dinner party.

    To focus on the affair itself could risk making the story too sappy, or result in ignoring the pain and discomfort that it causes others. The “weave” format enables the story to explore the complexity of the affair.

    • jperpich10 February 14, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

      Love your connection to the “truth is a broken mirror” idea from Wednesday! I think that perfectly explains why the author chose to emphasize these specific rooms, and going about looking at the story from different angles. I think too often in stories, too much focus on the affair itself is cliche, even boring at times, and though it is obviously a huge theme in this story, the emphasis on the settings of the coffee house, Rose’s house and the tutor room make it more interesting.

      • jessicasiverly February 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

        Not to mention, this affair though it only happens in the bedroom, follows her everywhere.

    • Carrie February 14, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

      I agree. At first I was questioning why we should see so much of Rose and her friends gossiping, but from them we get the different perspectives to have about the affair; one girl says she would act similarly to Mrs. Bouverie, another declares she will never be unfaithful. It was interesting to compare the young girls gossip to the real life older couple and see how values don’t always last the test of time. Rose’s weeping at the end and listing all the character’s we’d seen leaves an almost hopeless feeling for the future, showing things don’t always work out as you dream them to.

      • maggie February 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

        I thought that the fact that all the fiends had different ideas about what they would do was interesting as well. Maybe it was because of what they have seen from their parents, experienced in other facets of life, or maybe it really was just their personalities, but it made me wonder if people are who they are from a young age, or if they change. It made me wonder which young girl Mrs. Bouverie would have been in that situation, I wonder if she would have been a romantic, she doesn’t seem cynical in the story.

        • Kelly Daniels February 17, 2014 at 5:00 pm #

          And then there’s the simple challenge of making a love triangle fresh and interesting. We’ve heard the basic story so often that we’re likely to dismiss it unless it doesn’t something new, as is done here with an interesting point of view.

    • Laura Seeber February 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      I never thought about it that way but that makes total sense now! The weave format shows I think the complex air that hovers during the affair and the awkwardness it presents.

      • SarahStory February 14, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

        Yes! An affair takes place between specific people, but many more people are affected, and each outsider not directly involved in the affair will have a different opinion and outlook on the situation. Complex indeed.

      • alexandrapalmisano11 February 14, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

        I agree! I think that the random transitions and way it is written add to the situation and Roses feeling about it.

    • Kristel_E February 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

      This is so true, Caitlin. The weave format really does add other elements into the story of the affair that are necessary in order to keep the story away from being either too sappy, biased or even frustrating. It gives many perspectives and allows the reader to try to figure some things out on his/her own while still being given a lot of information from different viewpoints (either directly or through gossip).

  7. Alli February 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    “The conflict, of course, is the ongoing affair, but most of the story barely confronts this painful happening. Why should the author concern himself with the coffee house, Rose’s house, and the tutor room, instead of the bedroom where the real action is taking place?”

    OK, I kind of have a weird answer to this (maybe)…I just think that the author concerning himself with everything else BUT the affair imagery is more descriptive of an affair itself. Everyone wants to look everywhere except right at the offensive thing in the room, as if that spares the person who is suffering silently. It’s like the whole “elephant in the room” thing, kind of. At least, that’s my take on it.

    • Caitlin Lawler February 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

      That’s a really good point! Especially since at the end, it talks about how the affair will have to end because Rose’s lessons are over. The affair depended on the pretense of secrecy, even though it was clear what was going on.

      • Alli February 14, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

        I think it’s so interesting that the biggest twist this story has for us is laid out so quickly! I think it really lets us struggle with the character of Mr. Bouvarie, but also because of Rose’s romanticization of Mrs. Bouvarie, we have to work a little harder not to demonize her right off the bat, since her husband is aware of what’s happening and isn’t standing in her way except by being in her presence and not allowing her to seek out her lover.

        • Caitlin Lawler February 14, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

          And doesn’t Mme Bovary have an affair because she’s frustrated with her marriage? Maybe Mr. Bouverie’s resignation suggests that he thinks he can’t offer her as much as Mr Azam. I’m not sure, but it sounded like you’ve read the book so you might have more insight into that aspect?

      • jessicasiverly February 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

        Which is funny, because isn’t that how all affairs work. Under the pretense of secrecy? Even if people know, no one says anything.

    • maggie February 14, 2014 at 1:17 pm #

      Ooh I like this answer, and it totally makes sense that the form of the story would connect with the subject matter!

    • tylerspellious February 14, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

      That’s a very good point! Weirdly enough, the professor seems to be the only one that actually wants to talk about the affair (occasionally) other than the gossip of young girls. Everyone else is trying to spare his feelings, or doesn’t know.

    • Kaylee Wagner February 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      I agree with Caitlin and Alli. By not focusing on the affair itself, it creates a sort of mystery about it. The actual event(s) would probably be less exciting than whatever the reader and Rose’s friends imagine.
      Plus, it’s possible the author didn’t want to write erotica.

    • Kristel_E February 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

      This answer is so awesome. I hadn’t thought of it that way, but it makes perfect sense to me. This makes the writing a bit more musical to me, as you’ll see methods like this employed in music (falling notes as you sing the word “waterfall” or something like that). Looking at it that way gives the story and form itself a bit more magic and intrigue.

      • Laura Seeber February 14, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

        I agree with Alli and Caitlin as well! The mystery that makes the reader wants to keep reading and definitely by avoiding scenes of the affair it makes the reader curious as to what is happening.

    • Kelly Daniels February 17, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

      Nice!

  8. maggie February 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

    I really like the fact that it is from Rose’s perspective because it allows us to view a very adult problem, from the point of view of a pretty innocent mind. I think it allows the story to break away from the mold of the well known “affair story”. Sometimes it is also easier to really connect to a characters pain when you are seeing them through another persons eyes, I feel like Rose makes out Mr. Bouverie as a sympathetic man.

    • tylerspellious February 14, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

      It’s interesting that you say Rose is an “innocent mind”. Not claiming she isn’t, but her friends seem to try not to seem that way. They gossip about affairs, openly talk about having them if they could, and smoking. But I do like your point about it breaking the mold of the “affair story” because this is essentially what the story’s purpose is, breaking that mold.

      • RukiG February 14, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

        Tyler, I definitely see them as innocent. I read the coffee shop scenes as the girls trying to be “grown up” and “sophisticated.” I think they were described at one point as “coffee-drunk” and that, in particular, seemed to suggest they were inexperienced girls for whom drinking coffee in itself was the epitome of sophistication.

        • Kristel_E February 14, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

          Ruki! Haha, “drinking coffee in itself was the epitome of sophistication,” you made me laugh. I commented after you, but I agree, they seem to be trying to be sophisticated. Just like when you see 13-year-old girls putting on all this makeup, doing their hair, wearing “big girl” clothes and buying Starbucks because it’s supposedly “cool”, that’s what I get from that scene.

          • jessicasiverly February 14, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

            I also feel like it she doesn’t really fit here. Like in this social scene. You know what I mean?

      • Kristel_E February 14, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

        I feel like her friends try not to seem innocent purely because they are innocent. That seems to be the case in most situations in life, doesn’t it? The people who brag the most about doing things are the people who don’t do things like what they talk about at all.
        Maggie- I do agree. I like that it gives us the problem from a more innocent mind and doesn’t fall into the more cliché affair story where the main character (usually in the affair) starts feeling guilt and all of that. Instead, we get to see it through the eyes of Rose.

  9. Laura Seeber February 14, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    As for the story not having the scenes int he bedroom but rather in the coffee shop and such I took much like Carrie it was a way of not avoiding it but rather filling in places.

  10. jessicasiverly February 14, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

    Kelly mentioned that there are two allusions. I honestly have no idea if this is anywhere close, but I took the title as an allusion to John 11:35–the shortest verse in the Bible– “Jesus wept.” Basically, he was so saddened by the death of Lazarus (one of his followers) that he wept at his tomb. He then resurrected him and so on. For some reason, I just felt like, by Rose taking on all of this guilt and sadness and by sitting by and watching this marriage essentially die, she was moved to weep. Meh. I don’t know.

    • Nate Mittelbrun February 14, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

      I really like that idea though. Hadn’t thought of it, but I definitely think you’re on to something. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss it.

    • Kaylee Wagner February 14, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

      I think your right. Besides, it’s better than whatever I can come up with.

    • Caitlin Lawler February 14, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

      I think you’re right! The title definitely evokes that verse. If you think about it in that context, the final line “She wept for all her young life before her, and other glimpses and other betrayals.” Maybe this is too much of a stretch, but if the story is meant to allude to Jesus, then the final line about betrayal brings to mind the infamous betrayal of Judas. The theme of breaking faith with a person you promised to be faithful to (a husband, or the Christ, for example) is in both the Biblical and Trevor’s story.

      • maggie February 14, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

        Yeah totally, I think this could be taken in so many ways, continuing with the Jesus allusion, Rose basically takes on the pain and suffering of others, and is a silent sufferer in her guilt. Despite the fact that she does share with her friends- I just get the feeling that something about her characters gentle and silent nature, not to mention the fact that she is very different from everyone around her could point further to this Jesus allusion.

      • Padraic Price February 14, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

        I thought it was really interesting to give the point of view to a character not directly involved in the main conflict. I think this is really the only way that the author could get the reader to sympathize at all with Mr. Bouverie. If it had been from his point of view we would have seen it as unreliable and biased

    • RukiG February 14, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

      I know next to nothing about the Bible, but from what you say in this comment, I think this allusion really works!
      In addition to the death of the marriage, I think the story was also in a way about the death of Rose’s innocence (about sex, about marriage, about love and affairs) and her romanticization of love. In the last paragraph, especially, she seems to do a lot of growing up in a very short time.

      • Alli February 14, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

        Ditto with Ruki. What you’re saying sounds great! What an interesting choice of illusions…”Mme. Bovary” and The Bible. Apt in this case.

        • RukiG February 14, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

          So interesting… There’s nothing remotely Christian about “Mme Bovary”; in fact, it mocks the church and small-town Christianity quite a bit, so that just makes the choice of allusions even more interesting.

    • Caitlin Lawler February 14, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

      Also, the weeping over Lazarus and the pain of Jesus’ followers could parallel Rose’s weeping over her friends “the unfaithful when things turned stale, the accident prone, the romantic, who gave too much…”

      • Kelly Daniels February 17, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

        You guys are too smart. I take it to be a biblical reference too. Rose is, in her small way, a Jesus-like character. She’s paying for everyone else’s sins and enduring everyone else’s pain.

  11. jessicasiverly February 14, 2014 at 1:35 pm #

    I was really confused as to when this story was taking place. Meaning, like modern day or like way back when. I just didn’t have a clear picture of what year I was in. I don’t know if I missed something or if I was the only one.

    • Nate Mittelbrun February 14, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

      I got the sense that this was a more modern day story. Their talk of cars and the “baby on board” bumper sticker sort of kept me in the 90’s or 00’s; not specific as to which year, but most definitely taking place in a modern setting.

      • maggie February 14, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

        Ooh thats true too, I forgot about that. Man that just confuses me even more then!

      • Kristel_E February 14, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

        I thought the story was from an earlier time, but the “baby on board” sticker really confused me. I wonder if that was maybe intentional? To make the story less easy to place in a time period? I’m not sure. I think I keep trying to place it earlier because of the allusion to Madame Bovary, and the fact that the beginning of the story talks about Mr Dakin unbuttoning his waistcoat. The language is not something that is common of this age.

    • maggie February 14, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

      Oh yeah I totally agree with you, I was especially thrown off by the fact that they kept calling them borderline cases, and the cofee house, the smoking, and the description of Mr. Azams suit all made me think that it was not present day. Plus I dont usually hear people now a days say they were celebrating the fact that they got into University, unless they live in another country.

      • Kaylee Wagner February 14, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

        Plus, I don’t know many (actually, any) people who say cuckold (unless talking about Shakespeare and Tudor England).

      • jessicasiverly February 14, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

        Were they like in England? I guess I was just really thrown off. It wasn’t connecting for me there.

        • Kaylee Wagner February 14, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

          I don’t think they’re in England, but I’m not really positive that this is modern day America either.

          • Kaylee Wagner February 14, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

            Strike that. I looked up the Box Tree Cafe. There is an actually place called that in Norwich, UK.

            • Kelly Daniels February 17, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

              Yeah, it may be that this being an English story just makes it seem old timey for us. Not sure though.

      • Kristel_E February 14, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

        I agree with all of you, definitely. I just feel like this was possibly an intentional move by the author to make it more timeless by mixing elements of different time periods and places. This leaves the story more open to occurring in any place at any time.

    • SarahStory February 14, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

      Agreed. For some reason, I thought it had an older, not exactly modern feeling to it because it was not dated. It just goes to show how universal the themes in this story are. The affair and others reactions to it are the same no matter what time period.

    • Caitlin Lawler February 14, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

      William Trevor if I remember right is an Irish writer and I think most of his works are from the mid to late 1900s. So, I don’t think this story is quite as “modern” as say, “Paper Lanterns”, but it’s not from too long ago.

      But I agree the story (the dinner party and tutoring lessons in particular) has a kind of “proper” feeling that we wouldn’t necessarily expect from an affair story in the 21st Century.

      • RukiG February 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm #

        Well, ignore my comment below then 🙂

    • RukiG February 14, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

      For some reason, I thought this was set in England. I think the gooseberry fool and the use of the word university were the main reasons for that (never heard Americans speak of edible fool and we usually say college). But there was just something about the atmosphere in general…

      • Caitlin Lawler February 14, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

        I think it could very well be set in England, though I also think English and Irish diction have a lot in common.

  12. Kaylee Wagner February 14, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    The “weave”: dinner, tutoring/affair, gossiping in cafe, cafe, dinner, tutoring, dinner, cafe, dinner, cafe, dinner, imagined bedroom, dinner, imagined bedroom, dinner/end.

  13. Kristel_E February 14, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

    I might be going out on a limb here, but Rose weeping at the end to me was her taking on the guilt that Mrs Bouverie should have felt about the affair. It’s like she was taking on the guilt, this can relate back to Jessica’s idea of “Jesus wept” too. Maybe I’m just repeating ideas, but that is what struck me at the end. It initially confused me, but then I saw the innocence of Rose and that she seemed to feel bad for all these things she didn’t do.

    • Caitlin Lawler February 14, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

      I don’t know, I got the sense that she was also weeping in part for the end to Mrs. Bouverie’s and Mr Azam’s happiness. As thought she though it was wrong of them to hurt and humiliate Mr. Bouverie and for his suffering, but she also was sorry that they had to end their love affair and the happiness it brought them. I think the final paragraph shows how complex the whole affair is and how the “right answer” isn’t easy to find in the lives of all these people.

      • Kristel_E February 14, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

        Good point. Love is difficult, and you’re right (though I hadn’t thought of that), her emotions at that point really show how complex an affair is. Though definitely seen as wrong, there are more elements involved.

        • Kelly Daniels February 17, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

          She’s weeping for everyone, in the same way Jesus died for everyone’s sins. (I think the author is having some fun with this though, and not making some big Christian point.)

  14. RukiG February 14, 2014 at 1:41 pm #

    “How does the final paragraph justify the rest of the story, link all the various aspects together?”

    I’m going to take a stab at this one because I thought the last paragraph did a really good job of tying everything together.
    First of all, it just lists out the various threads of the story–the affair, the tutoring sessions which became conversations, the awkward dinner party with her (slightly-embarrassing) parents and brother.
    I think it also does a very good job of humanizing Mr. Bouverie. We only get brief allusions to the fact that he’s very sad about his wife’s affair, but the fact that his hesitation is what moves Rose to tears really expressed (to me, at least) his reluctance/nervousness about going home.
    Going back to “Mme Bovary” again, I also think Trevor expresses a similar sort of sentiment to Flaubert about the banality of middle-class life. The line about “the brittle surface of her mother’s good-sort laughter and her father’s jolliness, and Jason settling into a niche” seemed like something Flaubert would say. None of these things are inherently harmful or bad, but you don’t really see the parents or the brother in a particularly good light either.
    The last paragraph also helps us see how much of an impact the affair and all her conversations about it (with her friends and Mr. Bouverie) have had on her.

  15. jessicasiverly February 14, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

    I didn’t know if I should make much of the conversation they had over dinner. But to discuss those baby on board stickers surely had to have been for a reason. Do you guys think it was meant to assist in the reading or lend to the greater meaning? Or do you just think it was there for filler? I wasn’t sure.

    • maggie February 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

      I took it to just be more mundane conversation that the parents were having, and it kind of represented their, to what seemed like to me, dull lives. I mean I would hate it if my dinner conversations revolved around asparagus and car stickers.It kind of makes you wonder if their life is much better than the Bouveries.

      • jessicasiverly February 14, 2014 at 1:58 pm #

        I see what you mean! Ok, that makes sense! THanks!

      • Kaylee Wagner February 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

        The conversation is so dull, it gives Rose an opportunity to daydream/imagine/remember/etc…

      • Kelly Daniels February 17, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

        Totally agree, but then again, didn’t the coffee crowd wonder about Mrs. B’s childlessness?

    • RukiG February 14, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

      The thing with using a weave is that the “frame” (ie the conversation over dinner) has to tie into the rest of the story. I had trouble with the baby on board stickers, but after they move on to more general bumper sticker discussion, about stickers advertising who people love, Mr. Dakin says “Sharon and Liam, usually” and then we get our first concrete details of Mrs. Bouverie and Mr. Azam.
      Which is, again, similar to what Flaubert does to great effect in certain scenes in Mme Bovary.

  16. Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    Hi 2016 class! I write to you from Mexico, where it is unseasonably chilly, which should make you feel a little better. I look forward to hearing your comments.

  17. Jamie Hochmuth February 11, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    The piece being in Rose’s point of view is an interesting choice by the author. She is not the character with the most action, or the most intrigue. She’s not directly involved in what is happening inside Mr. Bouverie’s house or life. She is, instead, the innocent bystander. And I think this gives the piece its unique tone. Instead of being a piece about action or deception, it’s about how these things can affect someone outside of them, who is watching, especially a young person.

    • Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

      And Rose is even a “borderline” person, who thinks of herself as average. Not usually the kind of person to power a story.

    • Renée Millette February 11, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

      I also thought the point of view was interesting. I liked that while the narrator focused on her thoughts, Rose wasn’t the central character. I feel like this technique was done really well, as opposed to using an “I” POV to get to Rose’s thoughts. I also like how there was a lot going on around Rose, that shows that even though she’s worried and freaking out, the rest of the world around her doesn’t really know what’s going on.

  18. Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm #

    I’ll start you off with a comment on my questions. Reading Rose Wept today the structure felt more like layers than a weave. A single moment in time, dinner, while other moments through time keep occurring.

    • Jamie Hochmuth February 11, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

      I like looking at it this way. It is just dinner, just a few people getting together. And that’s the way the parents see it. But to Rose and Mr. Bouverie it is so much more, there is so much more happening under this top layer that is “dinner.” And in a way this mimics life. You never know what layers someone is bringing to an event, what is happening in their life, or what this top layer really looks like to them.

      • nwendtblog February 11, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

        And while you have this layer of the dinner, you also have the recurring flashbacks between when Rose was with her friends gossiping about the affair. It added another layer of how people knew, but weren’t able to confront them because Rose’s friends didn’t know Mr. Bouverie.

      • Elena Leith February 11, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

        I love how the parents keep trying to make people talk and Rose just really wishes it was all over. I think the writer really pulled the tension of the piece together really well, not just between Rose and the tutor but also him and his wife and Rose and the ‘man’. I even like how he makes her feel uncomfortable by relating to her friends what she’s been seeing and hearing and how they don’t seem to have the same restraints as she does.

    • Tyler Greene February 11, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

      I think that the story structure of the weave is a good way to describe “Rose Wept”. Like a string in a weave, the story goes back and forth (or under and then over) between the dinner scene and other scenes from the past. The scenes from the past always lead back into the dinner scene, and add levels of guilt to Rose.

    • Dan O'leary February 11, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

      I agree, think layering is a more appropriate term for the story. As far as time, it is brief, but a lot is happening. In the moment of dinner the author layers all of the emotions and conflicts of the affair and obesity, and Rose’s differing views.

    • Renée Millette February 11, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

      I also like this idea of the layers instead of the weave, since in a weave you can see everything woven into it. Each piece is connected to each other. But in layers, like on a cake, you can pile things up on top of each other and then cover it all with a frosting, hiding what’s underneath it until you finally decide to cut through it.

  19. Tyler Greene February 11, 2016 at 12:35 pm #

    “Why do you suppose the author chose to tell the story from Rose’s point of view? How would it have been a different story from Mr. Bouverie’s point of view, or his wife’s, the lover’s?”

    I think that the author chose to tell the story from Rose’s point of view because Rose is the silent observer in this situation. It’s quite a place to be in when you know of something terrible happening but can’t speak out about it because of fear or the feeling that it’s not your place to speak about it. The internal conflict of wanting to tell someone about the sadness that Mr. Bouverie is feeling, while not being able to, drives Rose to feelings of guilt.

    • Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

      She’s a good observer too, in that she’s highly empathetic, but neither a sentimental fool, like Liz, or a cynic, like some of the other friends.

    • Jamie Hochmuth February 11, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

      And it culminates in the last paragraph when she begins crying in front of all of them. She can’t hold back how she feels anymore and so much has been boiling under the surface. All of it had affected her deeply even though she’s not directly involved.

      • Emma Stough February 11, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

        I felt a connection to her character in this way – that she felt so deeply connected to the situation although she was only an observer. I know if I was in her shoes, I would feel the same overwhelming sadness and guilt, and not entirely know why I was feeling that way.

      • Elena Leith February 11, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

        I almost feel like the last section where she starts crying is the climax of the piece and there really isn’t a resolution. Like the author is trying to relate how these situations don’t really come to a resolution, they just end.

        • Jamie Hochmuth February 11, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

          And these situations affect more people than anyone would have thought: Rose, her friends, and now her family.

        • Dan O'leary February 11, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

          I agree. It’s more of a harsh ending but I feel like that is the intent of it. After all, Rose crying is the focus of the story, being titled “Rose Wept.”

        • Emma Stough February 11, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

          I think you’re right – I think the author is aware that this situation wouldn’t probably have any easy solution, and would likely be unresolved, and in the end a lot of people who be left sad, including those who weren’t even directly involved.

  20. Emma Stough February 11, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

    In response to the first question: I think the author chose to tell the story from Rose’s perspective because Rose’s distance (and at the same time her closeness) to the issue of the affair is an interesting contradiction. Rose is fascinated by the affair, and at the same time very ignorant of it. She feels as though she knows a secret that she is not supposed to know, and yet she is dying to understand, and to be a part of it. Her innocence about the situation leads her to feel as though she IS somehow a part of it, that she hears all these whispers and footfalls and connects the dots to discover Mrs. Bouverie’s infidelity and so she assumes she is smart and mature about it, but in reality she can’t begin to understand the pain that it causes to Mr. Bouverie (not to mention the pain it causes Mrs. Bouverie and Mr. Azam). Seeing this situation play out through the eyes of an 18 year-old puts a different perspective on it all together, considering what she thinks she can understand it, but can truly only speculate about, given all her limited experience. At the end I think she realizes this, that her tears are in a large part caused by her sadness for everyone involved and her inability to fix the problem in her powerless position.

  21. jessicaiam221 February 11, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    I think telling the story from Rose’s point of view made the story less bias and more innocent. Rose gets to see everyone’s side of the story and feels remorse for everyone. If it would have been from anyone else’s point of view, it would have had more anger or bias. This way we get to the story from all angles and make up our own minds about the story. Instead of having our minds made up by one of the characters. Though Rose’s friends give us their insight too, but I think it doesn’t help to make up the mind of the reader so much as it would have if an adult character had told us the story.

  22. writerandrea13 February 11, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    Question one: Why do you suppose the author chose to tell the story from Rose’s point of view? How would it have been a different story from Mr. Bouverie’s point of view, or his wife’s, the lover’s?

    I feel like choosing to tell the story from Rose’s point of view gave it an outside-looking-in feel, as well as a bit of a sense of mystery. If it was from Mr. B’s wife’s pov or her lovers, then we would get all the answers as to why they’re cheating on their spouses, and if it was from Mr. B’s pov – assuming he’s completely ignorant or mildly suspects something but not enough to question things – the story wouldn’t have any substance or as much emotion.

    Having it from Rose’s pov not only makes us question along with her why someone would cheat on their loving spouse, but we can also see how hard it can be to keep a secret like this. The price of having to be perfect/polite and not cause a scene, even if it’s the right thing to do, brings Rose to tears at the end. You can understand the turmoil, wanting to tell someone she cares about so he doesn’t have to learn about it the hard way, but also feeling like she has to keep quiet about this sort of thing because that’s what she’s been taught. The fact that her view of her family and of life itself is sort of crumbling around her thanks to this event also adds to the emotion. She no longer knows what she can trust, what is ‘real’, and if anything can really last, no matter how happy and perfect it may seem. This adds another layer to the turmoil that can be brought by knowing about an affair and needing to keep it secret, which makes the story that much more interesting and Rose that much more sympathetic.

  23. Elena Leith February 11, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    I like that the piece is Third person but technically by Rose’s point of view. I think it gives not only a unique flavor to the story, but it also gives the reader the ability to come to their own conclusions. We’re only vaguely subjected to Rose’s personal opinion. Her friends opinions at the coffee house offer the reader the ability to basically make up their own minds about the affair. It’s really easy to sympathize with the tutor, but the way he’s described makes him sound ugly and impersonal, not the type of person you’d want a relationship with. Although, I think the guy the wife is having an affair with sounds like a creep, personally. I think the story withholds judgement from the wife.
    I love how uncomfortable the whole situation is. No one is comfortable at the dinner table, not even Rose’s parents who are started the whole thing. I like the way Rose is at the center of it all, therefore tying everything together.

    • Jamie Hochmuth February 11, 2016 at 12:41 pm #

      Rose is this interesting pivotal point to the story, though she doesn’t recognize it. She, being the last pupil, is the end of the affair. She is the one connecting Mr. Bouverie to the family. She is the one who has witnessed it all. She’s central without being directly involved.

    • nwendtblog February 11, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

      Yeah I agree. I liked Rose as the main strand of the story, but you also have different strands that are weaving themselves into this story with her experiences with her friends, her knowledge of the affair, and the knowledge that her parents are just putting on the dinner to be polite. I thought it was cool how all those were related, but not too close where everything became too blurred.

  24. writerandrea13 February 11, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    Question 2: How would you describe the narrative voice? The point of view is certainly Rose’s, but the narrator looking over her shoulder seems to be another presence entirely.

    The narrator is both in the past and in the present. He describes what is happening now and how Rose is feeling right now, as well is her memories. Very rarely is there ever a transition between past and present, and the narrator also takes the time to describe how people look – like which one of Rose’s friends is the prettiest – and focuses on the setting and what people are wearing and how they’re looking as well. Honestly, I think the narrator is supposed to be Rose herself.

    Even though the story is written in third person and the narrator seems like an outsider, the way they tells the story and switches between past and present makes it seem like its Rose recalling memories while trying to focus on the present and forget about the mess she’s in, but it’s just impossible. The memories – her memories – keep butting into the present and interrupting, leading to her eventual breakdown. Overall, I’d describe the voice in this piece as casual yet somber, much like Rose who is seen as very proper and even acts that way, yet can’t help but feel sorry for Mr. Bouverie on the inside.

    • Tyler Greene February 11, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

      I agree. I wasn’t completely convinced that the narrator was a separate party, despite it being in third person. Part of me wants to say that maybe the narrator’s voice is sort of like the angel on her shoulder. The narrator is Rose in essence, but the voice is more subconscious thoughts. Like the voice in the back of your mind that sometimes doubts the decisions you make.

    • Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

      I agree.

  25. nwendtblog February 11, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    While we’ve been talking about why the author decided it was best to put it in Rose’s perspective, I think the reason why the author didn’t put Mr. Bouivere as the point of view because his story isn’t as complex as Rose’s. Rose is at the heart of the whole matter, being able to both distance and be close to the affair. She able to provide that view of both sides of the conflict, while Mr. Bouivere can only provide one. Plus, Rose’s story is a bit easier to weave with all the different aspects to make this a true weave story.

    • jessicaiam221 February 11, 2016 at 12:49 pm #

      I agree. Writing it in anyone else’s perspective but Rose’s would only give the reader one side of the story and the story would suddenly become less complex and less interesting.

  26. jessicaiam221 February 11, 2016 at 12:47 pm #

    I think the narrator seems to be a different presence than Rose herself because Rose hasn’t really decided what she thinks about the situation yet. She tells us what she thinks is happening while her family and Mr. Bouverie sit at the table, and she tells us about how she feels bad for Mr. Bouverie when he is tutoring her, but then she tells us that she is sad that tonight will be the last night his wife will get to see her lover. She’s young, and she feels wretched for everyone who has to suffer through the affair, so I think that might be why it feels like there is another presence to the narrator besides just Rose.

  27. Emma Stough February 11, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    I think that the piece avoids the exact location of the conflict (the bedroom) because by skirting around the edges of it and merely hinting at the infidelity taking place in it throughout the story is such a powerful way of paralleling how Rose is just an overseer of this conflict. She too merely skirts the edges of the affair, as a third-party that sees neither the entirety of the situation nor nothing of it. She is present in the house while it happens, but she can only guess and imagine what really goes on in that bedroom. Since the narrator is tied only partially to Rose, and seems to have access at times to Mrs. Bouverie and Mr. Azam’s thoughts and conversations, leaving out the main action going on in that bedroom is another way for Rose to be left out of it, for her innocence to shine through, her innocence as an 18-year-old who is desperately curious (and at the same time desperately inexperienced) about sex, love, marriage, relationships, etc. Never revealing fully the bedroom is another way to have this weave style of writing be more effective, for the conflict to exist only in flutters and moments, and to be avoided by focusing on other times and events that are seemingly unrelated.

  28. Jamie Hochmuth February 11, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    I personally like that the author didn’t bother to give us more of the actual affair and chose to set the story in outside locales. I think that puts the emphasis much less on the affair itself, and much more on the outside effects of it: Mr. Bouverie’s mental and emotional state, Rose’s mental and emotional state, the way it affects the girls, the way it affects Rose’s family. No one in the story (besides the girls gossiping) need to know the details of the affair, just the fact that they know it’s happening is enough to affect them. If the author had chosen to focus more on the bedroom, the entire tone of the piece would have been altered.

    • Emma Stough February 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

      This is a great way of putting it. It’s so much more interesting to view the situation through the consequences that it creates, and the effects that it has on the people involved. And you’re right that the people involved, and even just the people observing, didn’t need to know any specific details about the affair to understand the basic idea of what was going on.

      • Jamie Hochmuth February 11, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

        Exactly. And then the point of the story doesn’t become “affairs are good/bad,” it becomes much more about how a situation like this can affect people completely unrelated to the affair itself.

      • Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

        There’s also the Britishy properness to the whole story that would be ruined by direct depictions of sex. Rose is innocent, is part of the larger point. A sex scene would overshadow that theme.

    • Elena Leith February 11, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

      It’s very rumor oriented, which I think is a good idea for this kind of story. In order for the reader to get really oriented, we can’t look at it as a science experiment (place, social class, etc) but instead we need just generalities that allow us to connect to the characters. If that makes any sense…

  29. writerandrea13 February 11, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

    Question 3: The conflict, of course, is the ongoing affair, but most of the story barely confronts this painful happening. Why should the author concern himself with the coffee house, Rose’s house, and the tutor room, instead of the bedroom where the real action is taking place?

    I feel like because the event itself doesn’t matter, hence why the sex scene with Mrs. B and her lover is so briefly glanced over. What matters to both the story and Rose herself is the consequences that will come out of this event. Not only will a friend of the family’s eventually have to learn this, but the fact that everyone else already knew but didn’t tell him will probably hurt even more. Not only that, but Rose’s own world view is shaken, and we get to see not only her reaction to learning about the affair, but her friends and parents’ reactions as well. This is all more interesting and thought provoking than just reading about two people we don’t know having sex.

    It also sort of reflects Rose’s parents’ idea of just ignoring the problem. They would much rather have a pleasant conversation with their friend than try to tell him that his wife is cheating on him, even if they are obviously uncomfortable. They have every right to say something, and it would certainly be more interesting than talking about the weather or vegetables, but because they need to be polite and proper they can’t talk about it, and can only stew in their thoughts, questions and emotions – just like Rose.

    • Emma Stough February 11, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

      I like what you said about Rose’s world view being shaken by this circumstance. I really felt that. I think all of the reverberations in her life that this affair causes really make her question how she feels about it. Her friends that claim they would cheat in that situation, or never cheat, make her wonder what she would do. All of her previous thoughts on the subject, and all of her determinedly romantic notions about the world, seem altered by this event. Perhaps her tears at the end could signify the death of some nostalgic, romantic, sentimental part of her that imagined the whole world to be composed of people who experienced True Love and never knew otherwise.

    • Tyler Greene February 11, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

      I think that if the bedroom scene was shown, it would have resulted in a lot more passionate emotions. I think that the use of the slow-burning guilt and confusion resonate a lot more with readers than fiery rage. If that makes sense…

    • Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

      Yeah, Rose’s family is an interesting element, the kind of jolly people who never say anything bad or never seem to notice things bad. Even death is given a brief moment and forgotten.

    • Renée Millette February 11, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

      I agree. This is an old-timey story and how the affair is handled shows just how people during this time deal with bad gossip through politeness. With nobody talking about the affair except for the girls in the coffee house, the affair seems to be petty and childish and only things that young girls talk about, but not anything to bring up in polite, adult company. It does a good job showing how people of the time handled problems–they didn’t.

  30. Dan O'leary February 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    I think it’s cool that the story is from Rose’s point of you but not told from hers. It is unique. Like many have already said, her closeness and quit demeanor toward the situation is why it can be appropriately told from her perspective.

  31. Renée Millette February 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

    I feel like the reason why we spend so much time in the coffee house, Rose’s house, and the tutor room is correlated with Rose’s role in this story as an observer. We piece together this story about Mrs. Bouverie’s infidelity from her small observations when she’s around her, but she never actually goes into the bedroom herself. We can only assume what’s going on the same way she can only assume from what she sees and hears. The coffee house part helps in understanding how Rose feels about this situation in comparison to how her friends are reacting to it. We as readers are getting into the gossip circle of Rose’s friends, since we only learn of the clues and never see the actual act happening.

  32. jessicaiam221 February 11, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

    By barely talking about the bedroom, it only makes that place and the affair itself a stronger subject. Rose is young and she doesn’t know much of anything that involves sex, so because we’re not able to get Mrs. Bouverie’s perspective, it makes sense that we wouldn’t see much of what goes on in the bedroom, besides what Rose believes actually happens in the bedroom. I also think that by having us look into the conversations at the coffee house, we see Rose and her friends’ “gossip” about the affair which I think is what happens in real life too. You can easily hear people gossip about “juicy” topics, like affairs, but hardly anyone ever actually sees it happen, whether the affair is really happening or not.

    • Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

      Yes! Rumor is often much more interesting than fact.

    • nwendtblog February 11, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

      Well I don’t know if she was too young to understand the idea of sex because she was going to college right? So she should be around the age of when people have discussed or had their fair experiences with sex. So I don’t think that she was too young to understand sex, but it was more of how she didn’t understand the affair, of why someone would deliberately make someone else unhappy for their own selfish desires. Once she realized why people have affairs, she started weeping because she knew her innocence had been lost.

  33. writerandrea13 February 11, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    Question 4: Describe the “weave” pattern. What are the threads? How do they “tie” together?

    All of the threads of the story are of course tied to Rose, the affair and Mr. B. The past weaves in and out of the present like memories returning to you during a conversation, and they all tie to Rose’s feelings about the situation and all the various opinions to it. We hear about Mrs. B, who has no regrets about the affair. We hear about Rose’s friends who are appalled yet interested about the whole thing. We have Rose’s parents who know, but would rather play innocent and try to distract themselves from the whole thing so they can be ‘polite’. And finally, we have Mr B., who is blissfully ignorant.

    Rose is able to see all these things, and in her mind is able to connect them to the main problem. But by the end of the story, she sees that the biggest problem isn’t that the affair happened, but how people are reacting to it. No one is willing to say anything, and if people lie and ignore something like this, then what else in her life is fake? When Rose weaves all these threads together, it makes a complete picture of a high society that seems perfect on the outside, but has harsh truths that are forced to hide below the surface because of the high society standards they give themselves.

    • Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

      Well, Mr. B is certainly not ignorant, nor blissful. He knows exactly what’s going on and he doesn’t like it. But what can he do? We don’t know the answer to that.

      • Tyler Greene February 11, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

        We don’t know the answer to it, and Rose cannot come up with a reason for the life of her. This is pretty intense stuff for an 18 year old who most likely has highly idealized beliefs about love and marriage. Seeing that Mr. B is doing nothing about the affair, as well as everyone else who basically knows sweeping it under the rug, Rose probably came to a very unwelcome epiphany about the nature of high society and what goes on behind the scenes, or underneath the weave.

      • Dan O'leary February 11, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

        This connects to the end for me. One of the reasons Rose cries is because she knows that Mr. B is going through the pain of the affair. Just before then he is described as complacent instead of a cuckold, showing that he knows about it and is letting it happen. Mr. B’s aftermath of the affair is the heartbreaking part of it. I do agree though that Rose is the connection between all of the threads, and that’s why the story is in her perspective
        .

  34. nwendtblog February 11, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

    As for question 3, I think that the inclusion of the coffee shop, Rose’s house, and the tutor room are very important to the story because, like the others have said, it represents her trying to dance around the subject. Instead of directly confronting the issue of the affair, she dredges up memories to tune it out. But beyond that, I think the inclusion of the three locations is important to set-up how the affair started, how long the affair has been going on, some of the effects that the affair has had, and Rose’s reaction to the affair. By including these scenes, the readers gets a better understanding of the affair and how that is playing into each character in the story.

    • Renée Millette February 11, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

      It also shows how Rose herself is handling knowing about the affair, and it’s definitely not by talking to the guilty parties directly. Mr. Bouverie hints at things because he’s uncomfortable with admitting it, Rose talks with her friends because she wants to talk about it but doesn’t know where else to go, and everyone at the house just blows it off because they don’t want to deal with the truth at that moment.

  35. writerandrea13 February 11, 2016 at 1:00 pm #

    Question 5: Much of this story’s power, or charm at least, rests on allusions. Can you find any famous allusions here?

    Hmm… I can’t really think of or see any famous allusions in the story. Though, the whole idea of keeping a secret sort of alludes to the idea of an affair, since Rose and the others are still betraying Mr. B’s trust by not telling him anything, even if they weren’t the ones cheating. But that’s all I can really think of.

    • Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

      I’ll give you a hint. The title is a big-time allusion. Also the troubled couple’s surname.

      • nwendtblog February 11, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

        Yeah I looked it up and the story is called A Bit on the Side so i definitely can see the allusion. I was wondering though, is Mrs. Bouverie a famous character from something? One of the articles said that her name couldn’t be a coincidence, but it didn’t say why.

  36. jessicaiam221 February 11, 2016 at 1:02 pm #

    The story itself weaves in and out of the present; Rose sitting at the table with her family and Mr. Bouverie. Each time we weave to a different point in the past, those are the threads. We weave to the coffee shop, to the tutor room, and sometimes to an event that happened, like the affair, but told in a way that might not have happened that way (just how Rose imagines it would go). I think the weaves tie together beautifully and make the story more intense. It might have been easy to get distracted away from the story if it had been told chronologically (starting from when Rose first started tutoring lessons from Mr. Bouverie and ended with the dinner at her house). Making the story weave in and out of the most intriguing parts, keeps the reader on their toes and ready for the next thread to be weaved.

    • Emma Stough February 11, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

      The weave threw me off sometimes, and sometimes I had to re-read to understand where the story had gone, and where it was in relation to the ‘present’, or the dinner. So you’re right that it makes the read stay alert and focused. I don’t think, however, that telling the story without the weave would have as good of an effect. I think that told chronologically and going from place-to-place in a more straightforward way would lend the story anything more than the weave fashion does.

      • Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

        The author seems to purposely jam them together, kind of how memories take over the present moment, and then the present moment comes back.

  37. Jamie Hochmuth February 11, 2016 at 1:05 pm #

    What the title reminds me of in terms of an allusion is the shortest verse of the Bible “Jesus wept.” This comes after his arguably best friend Lazarus dies and Jesus is confronted by Lazarus’s sisters who say that if Jesus had been there, the death wouldn’t have happened at all. This may add another layer to the story of the innocent one weeping over something they may have been able to do something about, but really are not directly involved in. Is this the allusion of the title?

    • jessicaiam221 February 11, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

      Good find! I wish I would have thought of this!

    • Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

      Yea! You got it, with much more context than I had in mind. I just remember the famous line, and understood that Rose is a kind of Jesus figure here, suffering for everyone’s sins.

    • Emma Stough February 11, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

      Since I don’t know a whole lot about the bible, I’m taking your word that this is right! If it is true that the title is alluding to Jesus, then the ending is given new meaning, I think. Just as Rose weeps for all thous involved in this tense situation, Jesus wept (and died eventualy) for those situations that he couldn’t fix. In that exact situation you mention, I think you’re right that it makes the weeping about being in a circumstance where one is not directly involved but still feels somehow discontentedly responsible, which is I think how Rose feels, and certainly must have been how Jesus felt.

      • Renée Millette February 11, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

        I also don’t know much about the Bible, and I’m just wondering if the author made the allusion to be really obvious or just something that’s like “if you get it then here’s a bonus meaning!”

    • Dan O'leary February 11, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

      Ahh! That’s what i was trying to figure out too. So do you think it’s saying they think Rose could have prevented the affair? I’m not really sure. Rose seem’s so removed from the actual action of it. Even when it’s addressed in the coffee shop, she seems like simply an observer of the unfolding situation.

      • Jamie Hochmuth February 11, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

        I don’t think she could have prevented the affair. And Jesus was off doing other things so he couldn’t prevent the death. But someone could say that Rose could have said something when she knew it was happening, as the sisters said Jesus could have done something. In actuality, they are innocents, caught in how horrible life can be sometimes.

  38. Dan O'leary February 11, 2016 at 1:06 pm #

    The conflict, of course, is the ongoing affair, but most of the story barely confronts this painful happening. Why should the author concern himself with the coffee house, Rose’s house, and the tutor room, instead of the bedroom where the real action is taking place?

    I think we don’t focus on the bedroom because it keeps the affair more mysterious and unknown. The story is from Rose’s perspective, the quiet observer, and she wouldn’t know much about the bedroom and sex lives of the adults, especially Mr. Bouverie. Also, her youth comparative to the other character mystifies sex for her. Her character, because of her age and distaste for her mother’s events, is positioned far away from the actual affair. Yes, the story is told in 3rd person, but it takes on Rose’s perspective, one that would only know about it through the coffee shop, the tutor room, and hearing the creeks of footsteps in the house.

  39. writerandrea13 February 11, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    Question 6: How does the final paragraph justify the rest of the story, link all the various aspects together?

    For the entire story, we get hints at Rose’s guilt, and we can sort of understand why, but the last paragraph really brings it home how much she’s devastated by all of this, and how upset she is at herself for not saying anything, even when she just had the perfect opportunity to do so. She lists all the reasons why she’s crying, including reasons that don’t even relate to the Bouveries themselves, but to her own family. She cries at how fake they seem now, how easily the illusion of perfect and love could break, and she worries that she will end up the same way. For the entire story, she recalls memories related to the affair, but stays silent and barely expressive, knowing she can’t say anything. The ending however, is the one time where she finally lets her emotions show, no longer ignoring them or the problem, and where she is forced to face it all head-on. No having to look or sound good in front of people, no having to hide, it’s just Rose and pure, uncensored emotion. Everything we’ve read and learned about Rose accumulates into this one breakdown.

  40. Renée Millette February 11, 2016 at 1:10 pm #

    The Bouverie couple share the same name as the characters in the book “Madame Bovary” by Flaubert, a story about a woman named Emma Bovary who gets married to a doctor named Charles who is in love with her, but she does not really love him. Instead, she has a series of affairs. Eventually, the men get tired of her and leave her, and she becomes racked up in some serious debt. She asks her lovers to help her with money, and then swallows arsenic. Charles is heartbroken, and then finds the old love letters. He tries to forgive her, and then all of his possessions are taken to his debtor. He then dies.

    • Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

      You got it! And that’s the theme of Rose weeping. She’s weeping for how effing sad life can be, and so often is.

    • Jamie Hochmuth February 11, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

      This is a cool allusion then. That it’s the same discontented, blind relationship that both are trying to muddle through. The author was clever in just spelling the last name a little differently.

    • Elena Leith February 11, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

      That sounds awful. I like this story better.

  41. jessicaiam221 February 11, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    Since Jamie already figured out the allusion and I don’t want to copy her answer, I’ll just say that (even though it’s not an allusion) this affair reminds me of The Great Gatsby, except the roles are switched. In this story, Mr. B knows about the affair but doesn’t do much about it, and in Gatsby, Daisy knows that when the phone rings at dinner, it’s her husbands mistress, but she can’t do much about it either.

    • Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

      Great connection! I hadn’t thought of it, but it makes sense.

  42. Kelly Daniels February 11, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

    Cool allusions and a cool class. You guys really nailed this story, I think. I’m being called off to do this and that at the conference, so I’ll sign off now. Feel free to include any last minute comments, and please know that your contribution has been well noted (and recorded in the grade book!). I wish you the best of luck on your finals, and I look forward to reading your portfolios. Cheers! Adios!

  43. jessicaiam221 February 11, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

    The final paragraph makes the story seem like it was building to this exact moment. All through supper Rose was sad for every party involved in the affair, and she thought about everything that had happened so far to bring them all to this point. Then, when Mr. B gets up to leave, it’s like a needle that popped a balloon. She knows that Mrs. B’s time is up, but she also knows that she’ll never see Mr. B again and might not ever have the opportunity to make things right (even though there wasn’t much she could do anyway). And like the final sentence says, she starts crying because she knows that there will be many other betrayals in her life and others lives in the many years to come, and she might not be able to stop those either.

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